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Liveable planet lunch meeting - Learning from Ancient Water Systems

Thursday 24 March 2022
Liveable communities – Liveable Planet
Hybride: live in the van Steenis building, room E0.04 and online in MS Teams

You are invited to join us for the eleventh lunch meeting of the Liveable Planet programme lunch series. This meeting will be a hybrid meeting: the meeting can be attended live in the van Steenis building E0.04 or online in MS Teams (see link at the bottom of this page).



Short introduction | all webcams on 


Prof. Dr. Jan Kolen & Dr. Ir. Mark Driessen will take the stage for a short presentation, followed by an opportunity to discuss:

Learning from Ancient Water Systems

Knowing a landscape’s history can be likened to using completed experiments undertaken in the laboratory of the past. Many ancient land use and water systems were not sustainable, but their persistence is, at least in part, witness to their utility and may be a source of inspiration, revitalization and redesign.

Knowledge of ancient water management systems can help avoid earlier mistakes or offer viable alternatives to a similar contemporary challenge. “Water issues”, like the access to reliable freshwater resources, the perils of uncontrollable flash floods and the loss of biodiversity in wetlands, can be considered as one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. However, ancient societies already dealt with similar problems. 

The lunch talk

In this lunch talk Mark Driessen and Jan Kolen of the Faculty of Archaeology will reflect on this topic, starting from an archaeological case study: Udruh in southern Jordan (to be presented by Mark Driessen). The long-term development of innovative water management and agricultural systems around Udhruh – in the hinterland of Petra – turned the steppe into green oases for large parts of the first millennium. A second case study, about the changing perception and use of wetlands and (artificial) water bodies in the peat reclamation area of the Central Netherlands, will be discussed during a later lunch talk (Jan Kolen). 

Liveable communities – Liveable Planet

The Liveable Planet programme is one of the eight interdisciplinary programmes that were launched at Leiden University in 2020

Leiden’s Liveable Planet programme aims to combine scientific, policy, socio-cultural and historical/archaeological research at Leiden University into coherent research with which we can tackle the major challenges of a transition to a habitable planet with ecological sustainability. The programme will  serve as a hub for the wide range of relevant research carried out within Leiden University and welcomes interaction with colleagues interested in contributing to the initiative within as well as outside of Leiden University.

Liveable communities – Liveable Planet

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